Clinical Guidelines


GUIDELINE UPDATES - This guideline was last updated 7/1/2022

HPV testing

HPV testing refers to testing for oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) types. Oncogenic HPV types are defined as those associated with the development of invasive cervical cancer, and include HPV 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59 and 68.[1] HPV testing can be performed using a range of technologies including DNA PCR, DNA hybridisation, and testing for RNA. 

Technologies that are to be used in the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) will be required to meet performance standards as determined by the National Pathology Accreditation Advisory Council (NPAAC).

Back to top

The role of partial genotyping

The risk of having, or developing, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) grade 3 or higher (CIN3+) can be stratified based on the results of partial genotyping on an HPV test. Several epidemiological analyses have been performed to inform estimates of the longitudinal risk associated with each HPV type. For example, Khan and colleagues[2] calculated the cumulative incidence rates (CIR) of CIN3+, including cancer, over a 10-year period as follows:

  • 17.2% for women with a positive oncogenic HPV test result (type 16)
  • 13.6% for women with a positive oncogenic HPV test result (type 18)
  • 3% for women with a positive oncogenic HPV test result (not 16/18)
  • 0.8% for women in whom oncogenic HPV is not detected.

HPV testing within the NCSP includes partial genotyping for HPV types16 and 18, as these types are managed differently to other oncogenic HPV types (not 16/18) in the program (see Oncogenic HPV types 16/18 in Chapter 6. Management of oncogenic test results). 

Some HPV test platforms provide additional channels for reporting HPV 31, 45 and/or other (not 16/18) oncogenic types, as part of their partial genotyping reporting. Some test platforms report HPV 18 and 45 together. For assays that do not distinguish between oncogenic HPV 18 and 45, a woman in whom type 18/45 is detected should be managed as for women with a positive oncogenic HPV (16/18) test result.

Back to top

HPV results

For the purpose of reporting, this guideline recognises the following categories for HPV test results (see Preparation of cervical screening reports):

  • HPV 16/18 detected
  • oncogenic HPV (not 16/18) detected
  • oncogenic HPV not detected.

Back to top



  1. Muñoz N, Bosch FX, de Sanjosé S, Herrero R, Castellsagué X, Shah KV, et al. Epidemiologic classification of human papillomavirus types associated with cervical cancer. N Engl J Med 2003 Feb 6;348(6):518-27 Available from:
  2. Khan MJ, Castle PE, Lorincz AT, Wacholder S, Sherman M, Scott DR, et al. The elevated 10-year risk of cervical precancer and cancer in women with human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 or 18 and the possible utility of type-specific HPV testing in clinical practice. J Natl Cancer Inst 2005 Jul 20;97(14):1072-9 Available from:

WEBSITE UPDATES - This website was last updated 7/1/2022